Preparing for the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival

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From a very tender age, I have always loved music.  Music has played a very important role in the island of Saint Lucia’s culture and Jazz music has found its way into the hearts of locals and visitors alike.  The Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival attracts thousands from all over the world to the island.  Jazz has always been one of my favorite genres of music and I vowed that I would never miss the Festival since its inception in 1992.

About 22 years later, I still get very excited as I guess who this year’s performers will be.  For months leading up to the festival, the people on this island excitedly wait for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to unveil the line-up for the year’s Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival.  This year the event runs May 9th – 11th, 2014, and will feature some of my favorite artists including Kem, Barrington Levy, P-Square, Maxwell, The Commodores and the winner of NBC’s The Voice – Tessane Chin.

Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival

This year’s event promises to host many fun-filled festivities for all.  Everyone attending will witness performances by stilt walkers, masqueraders, Creole dancers and even fire breathers.  I just love how the people of Saint Lucia get together for this spectacular experience that leaves an everlasting memory in everyone’s mind.

If you are interested in attending any of the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival events, please be sure to contact your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant either via email Res.marigotbay@capellahotels.com or by phone:  Direct 758 458 5300 ext. 3005 or Toll Free: 1 877 384 8037.

 

St. Lucia’s Castries Market

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Sometimes when I travel abroad, I long to experience and taste the local culture and cuisine of the country that I am visiting.   This beautiful island of Saint Lucia is home to many local dishes prepared from produce grown right here on the island.  The one place where you can get all that your heart desires, is the Castries market place located about 15 minutes from Capella Marigot Bay.

The best day to go to the market is Saturday, when the city of Castries is bursting with activity.  This is the day that many local farmers and arts and craftsmen assemble to sell their produce and product.  The market is divided into two segments.  One segment hosts the local produce section and the other has locally crafted work on display.

rsz_12photoThis past Saturday, I needed to get some local produce for my culinary class with Capella Marigot Bay’s Chef Garrido, so I proceeded to the produce section.  The market is filled with different colors.  It is so amazing to see so many different types of fruits and vegetables in one place.  Most of the fruits are seasonal and I was fortunate enough to pick out a few papaya fruits as I am fascinated by the health benefits of the papaya.  I picked up a few green bananas, some green seasoning peppers and a few ground provisions.  As I continued further, I could not help but notice this bright orange pumpkin.  Already in my mind I knew I would use this for the soup dish I would prepare for my class.

I love listening to the vendors carry on in local creole, momentarily stopping their conversations to greet me as I walked by their stalls.  The atmosphere is warm and inviting and it isn’t unusual to be offered a sample of locally grown orange or some other tasty seasonal treat.  Prices are reasonable and bartering is common practice.  All of this adds to the experience of visiting the lively marketplace.

rsz_2photoThe craft section is equally impressive.  There are so many beautiful items to choose from.  Handbags, jewelry, flags, key rings, t-shirts and musical instruments are just some of the items you may find.  And the same rules of bartering that applied on the produce side apply here.  There is something for everyone and you are sure to find the perfect souvenir to remember your visit to St. Lucia.

If you are interested in visiting the Castries Market here is St. Lucia, please let your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistants know!  They would be more than happy to organize a visit or even a tour for you.

Get To Know Chef Victor Garrido of Capella Marigot Bay

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Recently I had the chance to sit down with Capella Marigot Bay’s Executive Chef, Victor Garrido.  Get all the mouthwatering details from our chat below!

Hello Chef Victor and welcome to Capella Marigot Bay!  Tell me and the Capella Blog readers a bit about yourself.
Hello!  I am Victor Garrido, I began cooking at a young age.  As a kid growing up in Mexico, I would always be in the kitchen with my mother, grandmother and aunts, while my brothers and cousins played football outside.
My love for food, cooking and eating has allowed me to travel throughout Mexico and the world giving me the chance to enrich my repertoire.  I am so excited about this current opportunity to place these culinary and cultural experiences together on one plate for our guests here at Capella Marigot Bay.

Victor Garrido Capella Marigot Bay

Describe your attitude towards food and your personal cooking style.
My attitude towards food is all about respect.  I have as much respect for a single bay leaf as for a giant spiny lobster.  This attitude helps me to understand each and every ingredient and its characteristics to get the best of them and create the proper balance and match for palate, nose and eyes.
But that doesn’t mean I take food too seriously!  In fact I would describe my style as fun, adventurous and full of flavor.

What are your impressions of St. Lucia? 
St. Lucia is the best!  It is full of magic and wonder.  The environment and nature is rich and beautiful and the people posses a genuine warmth.  I have no doubt that this island will be a top vacation destination in the Caribbean in the very near future.

What do you think of the local food?
It is rich in both history and flavor.  You can taste the French- British influence combined with Indian spices and enhanced by organic local herbs in every bite.  Imagine these flavors joining with luscious chunks of Caribbean Kingfish and ground treasures…all in the same coal pot.
It just makes it amazing and full of potential seasonal variations.

Can you share some of your ideas for the different food outlets at Capella Marigot Bay?
Certainly!  As part of our plans, we have the construction and development for two new outlets and a Pool Bar, featuring fresh and healthy seafood options in our menu, such as Tiraditos, Lobster Rolls, Watermelon and Spicy Shrimp Salad etc.…

Our main restaurant will offer a relaxing atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating overlooking our gorgeous Marina.  For those looking for a more secluded affair, a private dining room will also be available.

The Hurricane Hole, located Jetty side, will serve lunch and dinner under a casual relaxed ambiance. I can’t wait to bring some smoky charcoal and barbequed meat aromas to the setting!

All of our dishes will possess true “Caribbean Soul,” as we are working with local farmers and purveyors to provide the most authentic and fresh ingredients.  I can’t wait for our guests to taste it all for themself!

 

 

 

 

Get To Know Sean Carney Of Capella Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

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I am so excited that the latest Capella Hotels and Resorts, Capella Marigot Bay, has arrived in St. Lucia.  Since acquiring the property less than two months ago, Capella has already begun to instill its own brand of elite service under the guidance of interim General Manager, Sean Carney.

Since arriving eight weeks ago, Mr. Carney has hit the ground running and I doubt he’s stopped for even a moment!  I always see him rushing around the property, encouraging and training staff, discussing renovation plans and much more.  Luckily I was able to get him to squeeze in a few minutes for this interview so that you could get to know a bit more about him, Capella Marigot Bay and St. Lucia.

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 Mr. Carney, we are so excited to have you here in St. Lucia at the helm of Capella Marigot Bay!  Tell me (and the Capella Blog readers!) a bit about yourself.
Originally from Ireland, I am married to an amazing woman, who is the not so quiet support behind me and we have one boy who just actually turned four years old last month.  Having spent the last 15 years working abroad with some great professionals and organizations has allowed me to gather a wealth of experiences to adapt and change with the various markets that I have been privileged to work in.  Passionate about what I do allows me to do something I enjoy doing on a daily basis and not have to think of it as work.  Meeting our employees and guests from all over the world allows me to get to know different people and cultures that one would not normally be exposed to.  Personally I enjoy swimming and cycling when time permits. Diving is another passion of mine.  I spent a few years also in the volunteer fire departments in Portchester NY and Waikoloa in Hawaii believe it or not.

You’ve been in St. Lucia long enough to get a taste for our beautiful island.  What are your first impressions?
It is a wonderful island with an amazing sense of warmth that flows genuinely from all of the individuals I have encountered.  It is great to see people from all walks of life coming together in Anse La Raye for Fish Friday or Saturday nights in Gros Islet.
The island itself is an amazing place with dense foliage, jungles and mountain scenery.  The breathtaking landscape from the Pitons down to the sea or the gorgeous sunsets here in Marigot Bay make for a picturesque setting everywhere you turn!

I think those are pretty spot-on first impressions!  So, what do you think Capella can bring to the island?
For an island that relies as heavily on tourism as Saint Lucia any positive impact from any organization is well received.  However I believe, Capella will take things further than just another resort.  By bringing its unique service based approach to the hotel, through our Canon and philosophy, we are determined to instill a sense of service confidence that our wonderful Ladies and Gentlemen will be able to match with their own hard work and desire to be the best that they can be.
Additionally, as a company we are always looking to contribute the areas we live in.  We partake in a variety of outreach programs and always look to work with the local community to preserve culture and traditions.  It is important for us to become part of our communities.

I know you’ve been busy, but what are the ways you like to spend downtime in St. Lucia and what activities are you looking forward to trying out?
Marigot Bay is very centrally located, which means all of St. Lucia’s major attractions are at most an hour away.   I love the adventure activities offered — from zip lining, diving, jungle and waterfall hikes to fishing off Marigot Bay.  And yes, I have done the Sulpher springs and covered my self in the black mud as well as relaxing in the hot thermal water!
Another great attraction just five minutes from the hotel is the only distillery left on the island and they do an amazing tour with a few samples at the end.  I have had the privilege of touring the facility with their master blender and tasted some products that they are working on for the future!  Definitely a great experience worth asking your Capella Personal Assistant about.

Last but not least, can you let us in on any details from the upcoming renovation?
Details are still being determined, but I can tell you a few secrets!
The new restaurant will have an extended balcony seating giving a great vantage point for bay view dining and watching the yachts sailing in and out.  This restaurant will feature an open show kitchen and a private dining room with both indoor and outdoor seating as well as some garden seating.
Another new food and beverage outlet will be located near the docks and will include a rum cave for private tastings and chef dinners.  The venue will also serve light fare for lunch and an everyday dinner menu.
The spa will also be transformed. The current fitness center will be moving upstairs and the spa downstairs.  This allows for the creation of a spa village with treatment “huts” in the middle of the garden that will allow for guests to really relax into the surroundings.

 

You can learn more about the latest Capella Hotels and Resorts HERE.